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McAfee Internet Security Suite Review

Our Verdict

McAfee Internet Security is quite usable. It does not get easily confused when it has to distinguish between dangerous and safe files. It goes beyond basic antivirus software in that it includes advanced features such as antiphishing and parental controls.

For

  • McAfee Internet Security includes effective parental controls as well as privacy and PC optimization tools.

Against

  • In spite of its excellent usability and good protection, this internet security suite is not the best at repairing computers already lousy with malware.

McAfee Internet Security is an internet security suite, which means that it provides more comprehensive safety features than entry-level antivirus products offer. It does, of course, handle the basics of protecting PCs from malware attacks and removing threats. In fact, McAfee's performance at the antimalware level alone is what places it among the top 10 products in our review. However, it goes beyond basics by also protecting you from sites known to phish. In addition, it protects you from dangerous links you might encounter while on social networks, and includes a password manager and parental controls.

In terms of McAfee's performance, the respected software testing lab AV-Test included McAfee in rigorous tests during the summer of 2013. After two months of continuous testing, AV-Test published McAfee's results in three areas: protection, repair and usability. McAfee was one of 26 competing products. The tests focused on real-world threat scenarios. The first area was protection, which tested among other things the ability to protect against never-seen-before malware - so-called zero day threats. McAfee did better than the average contestant. Another protection test checked to see how well the product detected widespread and prevalent threats: McAfee achieved a perfect score.

The second major test area considered performance, the ways in which a product influences computer system speed: McAfee's score was average. McAfee achieved a perfect score for usability, the third test area. Usability tests considered whether the product issues false warnings or blocks the actions of perfectly safe software. Overall, McAfee performed in the top half of the field of contestants.

McAfee Internet Security is chock-a-block with excellent features. At the most basic level, McAfee defends against all types of malware. However, because it is an internet security suite, McAfee includes many more features. For example, it blocks spam and detects dangerous email. It protects your identity and stops you from going to phishing sites. When you are on social networks, McAfee checks the legitimacy of any link that you might encounter. However, McAfee Internet Security provides you with even greater features. You can store usernames and passwords so that you can log in to favorite sites with a click. You can protect the children in your family with McAfee's parental controls, which let you block certain sites and limit the time your kids are online. McAfee's parental controls report to you about when each user logged in, how much time they were online and whether they attempted to go to sites that you had forbidden. Another interesting product feature is that with one license, you can secure disparate devices: PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones. Furthermore, by logging into a web console, you can manage all of the devices that you have under McAfee protection and adjust their settings.

McAfee offers some support services for a fee - virus removal service, for example. However, if the virtual technician on McAfee's support page cannot diagnose and fix your particular issue, there is no charge for contacting a McAfee support technician by online chat or telephone.

Although McAfee Internet Security is among the 10 best internet security suites, it is not among the top three. It has good features and is effective at detecting and preventing malware infiltration. Unfortunately, it does not excel in tests to see whether it can disinfect a Windows machine in which malware has already established residence.

Tech Specs

Software Required OS:Windows XP SP3 or higher (32-bit); Windows Vista SP1 (32- and 64-bit); Windows 7 (32- and 64-bit); Windows 8 (32- and 64-bit); Windows 8.1 (32- and 64-bit)
Software TypeSecurity
Required RAM512 MB for XP; 2 GB for Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1
Required Processor1 GHz or higher
PlatformsWindows
Disk Space500 MB
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